After the Socom series represented the Playstation online experience on the Playstation 2, Sony released the first installment of the series on the Playstation 3 in the the form of Socom Confrontation; but the question that many gamers from the Playstation 2 days will be asking is ‘Does Socom Confrontation really live up to the experience they all loved back in day?’. Well as a massive fan of the series and especially the online mode, I hope to answer this question throughout the review.
First of all one thing that should be pointed out is that Socom Confrontation does not include a single player campaign, unlike the series on Playstation 2. It seems like Sony and Slant 6 decided that they would concentrate on the best feature of the series and bring you an online only offering. For some people this may be a shame, as the campaign mode was an okay experience, but as mentioned previously the online modes was were all the action kicked off, and is what dragged high numbers over to the Playstation 2 Network.
As soon as you join your first game on Socom Confrontation you will automatically notice that Slant 6 listened to user demands to bring the gameplay back to the style of Socom II, which many users will appreciate, after the gameplay changes on Socom 3 was not widely accepted by the majority of fans. The decision to bring it back to the style of from Socom II has made the game feel faster, which adds to the action, but be warned the game still relies heavily on communication and tactics in order to successfully complete your mission. In order to get the best use out of the gameplay the game offers; communication is key.
With the return of the old gameplay style, it brings back the feel of the old gameplay, but this is not a bad and in no way does it make the game feel dated, and for many people this will be an improvement. It’s easy for both Socom veterans and new players a like to get into straight away, and with little practice get used to which gun setup and role is best suited to them.
Gameplay is varied by the different game modes that are included, and the fact that midway through the game you are switched sides, so in each game mode you are both the Commandos and the Mercenaries. You may also find that depending on which mode and faction you are that your own tactics/role may vary, offering again a mixed gameplay experience.
As expected each game mode sets objectives for both the Commandos and Mercenaries to complete in order to win the round and eventually the whole game. These game modes include…
- Breach – this game mode sees the commandos tasked with the job of destroying a set target within the Mercenaries territory with an explosive charge, but the only way to get to this point is by breaching entrances into the territory. It is the Mercenaries job to defend this point
- Control – this game mode sees both teams attempt to mark five key points on the map.
- Escort – this game mode sees the commandos given three VIPs to escort to one of two extraction points set on the map. The Mercenaries job is to stop the VIPs being extracted.
- Extraction – this game mode sees the commandos tasked with getting the hostages from the Mercenaries and getting them to one of two extraction points. The Mercenaries job is to guard the hostages and stop the commandos from extracting them.
- Demolition – this game mode sees a bomb located in the centre of the map, it is both teams job to retrieve the bomb and plant it in the enemy’s key area marked on the map once you are in possession of the explosives
- Suppression – this game mode is basically Team Deathmatch, its both teams job to eliminate the opposing team (if respawns are turned off), or to have the most kills in total at the end of the round (if respawns are turned on).
- Elimination – this game mode is Team Deathmatch with respawns turned off, but the difference from Suppression is that if both teams have members left the round will be drawn.
As you will see from the modes listed above you will now understand why communication and a tactical approach on this game is one of the most vital parts of the gameplay. There are two types of communication techniques included in the game in the form of communication chat and proximity chat. To use the “comms chat” you have to hold down L2 on the pad; doing this allows the whole team to hear you, where as proximity chat can be used to alert people close to you without using the comm system. But be careful, as proximity chat also works for the enemy, so you could give away your position quite easily.
The visuals on Socom Confrontation are not the strongest point, and will not compete with the likes of Killzone 2 or Metal Gear Solid 4, so don’t expect to be blown away. This being said one thing you need to take into account for the visuals is the point that Sony and Slant 6 decided to make this game available for download via the Playstation Store, as well as retail; so you have to expect that the game would suffer in this area due to this, because they would not want to make the games download size too large.
One element to the visuals that they managed to fit into the game is some environmental reaction; this is caused when there is a explosion in the game that causes the environment to shudder, then parts of the environment to fall on both the inside and the outside of buildings. Unfortunately though these are preset within the game and not caused by your interaction with the environment.
Although the graphics have had to be take a back seat due to the limitations caused by the size limits they have had to worked to, the game is still visually stimulating, and not something that you will find an issue while playing the game. The only down fall being some environments seem very bland, but, when you come to looking at the comparison between the Socom II map remakes of Crossroads, Desert Glory, and Frostfire, you will fully appreciate how much the graphics have improved.
Another thing what you will find in Socom Confrontation that adds to the experience is the sound. Although there are not really many sounds to cover in the game, it is done well, so you will always notice what type of environment you are facing your mission in, be it the war torn town on Urban Wasteland, or the more open setting on Fallen.
The main use of the sound, as in any shooter is obviously to amplify the battles that you find yourself taking part in. These sounds are covered well in the game, with the main focus going on the most vital part in any battle; the sound of gunfire. These are covered well, with each weapon coming with its own attributes. You get customization settings in your armory, which can see you alter the volume attributes by adding suppresses to your weapons, once again making a more versatile use of the sound within the game. Close quarters and war torn areas being enhanced with preset in game explosions.
These types of features make the games sound an essential part of both to overall outcome of the game itself, but also make a huge difference in respects to the impressive gameplay Socom already offers.
So the game offers an impressive amount of game modes and missions, but what else have Slant 6 done to make this experience differ for each player, and also make the game an essential purchase for those looking to make the best use of the Playstation Network?
As mentioned previously in the review, Slant 6 have included customization options; this system covers areas such as your character personal appearance, armor options, and weapon load outs. Although the appearance and armor options are very limited in choices, you will find the most important area, your weapon, is covered with multiple options, which include the choice of such things as sights, front grip and suppressors. Each option has a noticeable effect on your weapons’ performance, and your characters mobility.
Another important part which was included, and is an essential part of every Socom game is the clan system. This has been included in every game in the series, and was a integral part in building the games community, so It was obviously something that Slant 6 had to include in order for the game to carry on its success as an active community.
The only big issue with the game is the lack of maps that were included in the release. But, this will not be a problem as Slant 6 has already announced that map packs will be released on the Playstation store. To counter the lack of options, Slant 6 has created each map have multiple options for the game modes that can be played on them; meaning you get a difference experience depending on what mode you play.
Overall this game shaped up to continue the trend of Socom being if not the best, one of the best experiences for the Playstation Network, and an essential purchase for those looking for a great game with a great online community. The only let down being the lack of maps and no single player campaign, but remember as with every other Socom game; the online experience has always been the strongest point.
Visually the game can not keep up with the likes of Killzone 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, but one thing you need to take into account is this game was designed to be released over the Playstation Store as well as retail, so there is limitations on what could be achieved.
The gameplay of Socom has always been the best part of the game, and the selling point. This game has continued the trend in bringing top notch gameplay.
An essential part of any game in the shooter genre, and something that Slant 6 has done well. Top quality sound recordings, make it clear what type of environment each map is trying to portray.
With this being an online only title, the game does seem to be missing something; the single player campaign. But, the online mode is good enough to be sold as a separate product and is addictive enough to keep many players active, and wanting more.
Socom returns with its first outing on the Playstation 3, with the gameplay returning to the much more preferred style of Socom II, making this game addictive and enjoyable for veterans of the series and new players a like.